The SPFL "visiting supporters" rule that could still allow Celtic to make derby statement

By Hamish Carton

October 5, 2021

Domestic away fans may once again be permitted at Celtic Park, after “mandatory matchday red zones” were scrapped in Scottish football.

The SFA’s Coronavirus Joint Response Group approved the change, meaning that clubs can relax rules on away supporters, travel and more based on their own risk assessments.

My colleague John covered this story on site earlier.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

While away supporters enhance the atmosphere at Celtic Park and, let’s face it, give us an outlet to vent our frustrations towards, there is one club in particular who Celtic fans may not wish to see handed tickets for our next meeting.

As we told you six weeks ago, Celtic were left flabbergasted after Rangers printed out and sent tickets for the first derby of the season at Ibrox, before cancelling the tickets.

They cited a lack of guarantees over the New Year fixture at Celtic Park.

Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

The whole situation left a bitter taste in the mouth, and many believe Celtic should now bite back at the Ibrox club, if the rules allow.

What are the rules over away fans at Celtic Park?

Unsurprisingly, the SPFL’s rules on this issue are pretty vague.

Section I27 reads: “The Home club must make provision for the admission of such reasonable number of visiting supporters at every home League Match and Play-Off Match as may be agreed in advance with the Visiting Club.”

So a “reasonable number”? Seems pretty open to interpretation.

In normal circumstances, Rangers could expect to receive around 800 tickets for the New Year clash. (Scottish Sun)

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

But many Celtic supporters will feel that number is far more than they should receive given the way things played out in August.

Celtic could surely argue that 300 fans is still a reasonable number. It’s hardly a great deal less in a 60,000 stadium.

Of course, the fear is that this could escalate matters, and we could end up further diminishing the away followings in Scottish football’s showpiece fixture.

But it seems only fair that, after Celtic visited Ibrox with no fans, Rangers should do likewise at Celtic Park on January 2nd.

And then things should return to normal.

Over to you Celtic. Let’s see how you deal with this one.

In other news, Celtic star Jota has been speaking about the heavy match schedule at the club